Japanese discount chain to pull Nazi outfit
TOKYO: A Japanese discount chain said Tuesday it will pull a Nazi costume from its shelves after a complaint from a Jewish organization in the U.S.
The costume on sale at retailer Don Quijote Co. includes a black jacket with a red swastika armband in a package that has a sketch resembling Adolf Hitler on the cover, along with the phrase "Heil Hitler" in Japanese characters.
The outfit was on sale for about 5,000 yen ($60) in at least two Don Quijote outlets in Tokyo, including one in the upscale Ginza shopping district. Aico, a Japanese party goods maker, has made the costume for seven years and never had a complaint, said spokesman Nobuyoshi Nasuzawa. He said his company uses distributors and so wasn't aware of which retailers sold it.
Don Quijote said it would pull the product after being told of a letter from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights organization based in Los Angeles. The letter, dated Monday, requested that sales at the store immediately cease, saying that millions of Jews and other innocents were killed by the Nazis during World War II and that the swastika remains a "symbol of hatred."
"We want to fully respond to this letter from the center and are currently working within the company to do so," said company spokeswoman Kana Kasai in Tokyo.
Kasai said she didn't immediately know how long the product had been on sale or how many had been sold.
The Nazi costume was on display in the store alongside dozens of others, including one that resembled pop star Michael Jackson, as well as nurse and ninja outfits.
"This was meant purely as a joke, as something that would easily be recognizable. If we have complaints will certainly stop sales," said Nasuzawa, the Aico spokesman. An online search showed the costume was being sold by small retailers hosted on the shopping sites such as Amazon Japan, the U.S. company's local unit. An Amazon spokesman in Tokyo was not immediately available for comment. -Ap
WARSAW: Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev lays a wreath at a monument dedicated to thousands of Soviet officers and troops killed during World War II while driving Nazi Germans from the city, in Warsaw. -Ap